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End of course tests show area high schoolers struggling in math

State releases district-level test results

POSTED: July 17, 2014 12:02 a.m.

Scores released Wednesday show math remains a struggle for students locally and statewide.

End of Course Tests district results released by the state Department of Education show in every areas of mathematics tested, fewer than 70 percent of local students scored at or above standards.

Students fared better in science and the humanities. Hall County received scores of 80 or above in every subject tested other than mathematics. Gainesville tested at 80 or higher in economics and on the two literature test areas, but received a score of 79 in physical science and 66 in United States history.

Sarah Bell, chief academic officer for Gainesville city schools, said the math tests were not the same as those given in previous years.

“The expectations of these assessments are more aligned with what we expect from the upcoming Georgia Milestones in every content area,” Bell said. “In addition, they are likely a better indicator of college and career readiness.”

The EOCT, which has been administered yearly to high school students to test performance in a number of subject areas, will be replaced by the Georgia Milestones test beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. Unlike the multiple-choice EOCT, the Georgia Milestones test will include open-ended questions as well as multiple choice, and is expected to be more difficult. Bell said the test might result in lower scores for this reason, but will also provide a more complete picture of student learning.

Eloise Barron, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning in Hall County, said students did exceed the state average in one mathematics testing area, Mathematics II, with a score of 65.

“Hall County School System 2014 EOCT results hovered near the state averages in all content areas and actually exceeded state averages in Biology, Physical Science, and Mathematics II,” she said in a written statement. “Our students and teachers have worked hard to accomplish the goal of meeting and exceeding expectations on these tests. We are all still very disappointed with the low scores on the Mathematics II, Coordinate Algebra, and Analytic Geometry, not only in Hall County but statewide.”

According to a written statement provided by the Gainesville system, scores in that district were lower in physical science and U.S. History than in previous years, but the district says few students took tests in those areas due to course sequence changes. The statement says the scores “do not offer an accurate picture of general student performance.”

The largest increase for Gainesville was in Economics, where the score jumped from 68 for the school year ending in 2013 to 80 in 2014, the statement said. The score for Biology also rose, with 75 percent of students meeting or exceeding standards on the most current test, up 7 percentage points from the previous year.

End of Course Tests are given as final exams in certain high school courses across the state. For students who entered ninth grade in the 2011-12 school year, results count as 20 percent of the final grade.


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